Category: Clara Kinken

Staying Politically Engaged after the Election by Clara Kinken

If you’re like me, this lengthy campaign season and prolonged election cycle has seriously taken its toll. While political burnout might seem easier to succumb to than it has in the past, this year has also helped many of us realize political and civic engagement can be more rewarding than we previously imagined. With the 2020 election displaying record voter turnout, particularly among young voters, students may feel inspired to continue their political engagement. 

Staying involved in civic processes is not a one-size-fits-all. There are a vast number of ways students can remain engaged outside of voting, from formal classroom education to extracurricular peer-led discussions. In recent years, including this one, the University of Delaware has been named a top school for the Student Voting Honor Roll, which not only demonstrates that our student body remains civically engaged, but also indicates that there are a number of on-campus offerings that foster a supportive environment for political awareness. 

While the 2020 presidential election may be over, there are still plenty of other opportunities for students to get involved with politics outside of casting ballots. If you feel civic engagement has been a transformative experience for you and would like to spend time encouraging fellow students to join in the democratic process, then you should check out Make It Count. If you’re interested in finding ways to have safe and productive political discussions or to learn more about political issues, Let’s Talk is another RSO to try. Both of these RSOs are non-partisan, but more ideology-specific RSOs are available as well, including the College Democrats and College Republicans, among others.  Continue reading

“Accountability Partners in a Challenging Time” by Clara Kinken

When the initial shock of a pandemic uprooting my time on campus wore off, my next instinct was to look for hidden opportunities to come out of quarantine. I fully expected that within two months I could be cooking gourmet meals, working out everyday, and achieving other lofty goals. And while I certainly attempted to incorporate self-improvement into my social distancing experience, my dinners of microwavable grain bowls and Annie’s box Mac and Cheese offer a glimpse into my eluding success. 

Another significant challenge I’ve experienced over the past several months has been keeping in touch with people outside my immediate family. Maintaining the strength of my relationships over distance and time has always been difficult for me and was one of my primary concerns when I realized the extent of our isolation. 

Over the summer, a solution to both my disappointing track record and my need for more regular human interaction presented itself to me through a text from a high school friend. A fellow French student, who also happens to enjoy testing the limits of their brain’s linguistic capabilities by studying multiple languages at once, had been using Duolingo regularly throughout the semester. He could plainly see that I had not. By abruptly pointing out that I was lagging behind for someone supposedly dedicated to language learning, he inspired me to begin a daily practice with some friendly competition. The exchange motivated me to resume language study outside of the classroom, not just through the app, but through other means as well.  Continue reading

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